I love to read. Although, I have to admit that I used to be a very bad reader. Whenever I watched movies with my family, I struggled to keep up with the subtitles, so I ended up completely disregarding them instead.
Now I have become significantly better at reading. I read all the time because I no longer struggle with it as I used to.
But before I talk about tips that helped me become a better reader, I first want to give some information on how people with dyslexia tend to read.:
- According to the “Move forward with dyslexia institute,” readers tend to have a reading speed average between 50 to 150 words per minute. This is significantly below the average reading speed for non-dyslexics at 250 words per minute
- People with dyslexia also think in pictures which can be good and bad while reading. When I read a book, it is like watching a movie in my head. I visualise almost every word as a picture in my head to comprehend it. That is why when I read the word car, I sometimes automatically read “vehicle” instead because my brain processes words in images from which I then get the meaning of the word. Therefore it is self-explanatory that most dyslexics read slower than average. Because people with dyslexia are so-called “picture thinkers,” they sometimes even get distracted by their own images during reading. Often such words or sentences evoke associations or memories coming from yourself. This tends to slow down the speed of reading quite a bit.
- Even when dyslexics read at an average reading speed, it will still be not fast enough for their fast mind. The dyslexic brain processes information in pictures, movies, and other concepts, processing a lot more information in a single second! So to sum it up in simpler words, the dyslexic brain usually has too little to do while reading.
- This memory/picture association while reading stops when the reader reads at the speed of 600 words or more per minute. At this speed, you obviously read faster, but in addition you also tend to be more focussed while also retaining information better. Retaining information while reading is definitely a problem for me because I tend to get distracted.
But believe it or not, according to the “dyslexia speed reading lounge,” people with dyslexia have very high chances to become good speed readers. For example, in the book “Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World,” Jeffrey Freed states that children with dyslexia are great at problem-solving and are excellent fast readers.
It is important to note that slow reading occurs in the left brain (most of us are left-brain dominant), while accelerated reading occurs in the right brain (people with dyslexia are right-brain dominant). That is why dyslexics, once they learn the ways of fast reading, actually find it quite pleasurable and find themselves quite good at it. (Speed Reading Lounge, 2021)
It is important not to, that even if you are struggling with reading, faster reading is definitely possible and even very likely if you have the proper technique.
Here are some fast reading tips that helped me as a child and still help me to this day:
1. Exercise your eyes – Train your eyes to see several words simultaneously. When you see words in clusters instead of individually, you can decipher the meaning of sentences and phrases a lot faster. When you start seeing word pairs, you can then expand to seeing words in sets of 4 and later maybe even to groups of 7.
2. Avoid pronouncing words while reading – It is important to note that this is a challenge for all readers. Regardless of whether dyslexic or not, everyone needs to practice keeping their inner voice silent while reading. Though this might be pretty challenging at first, this strategy immensely helps increase a reader’s word count per minute.
3. Avoid back-skipping – I myself am very guilty of this habit. I frequently have to reread words that I am reading because I often lose my focus and think that I have to go back and reread the sentence. In reality, it is a lot better just to continue reading if possible to avoid falling behind. And even when you read a sentence and don’t understand a specific word and feel tempted to go back and look at it again, it is better to continue reading. As the Reading Lounge puts it: “The context is usually a great servant in helping us decipher the meaning of certain words.”
4. Preview your text – Previewing your text before starting to read it is one of the most efficient reading strategies for people with dyslexia. It permits spreaders to gain a quick idea of what the text is about and what to expect before actually starting to read.
A general rule of thumb is to preview chapter titles and the topic sentences of paragraphs. You can also look for graphs, figures, and charts if it is a school textbook you are trying to read. What I usually tend to do is find the words and sentences printed in bold since these are typically considered the “heart” of the essay/article in textbooks. When doing so, I try to go to conclusions before even looking at the whole text. This helps me achieve a better understanding of what I am reading
Www.tag-Tonic.nl, Www.creativetouch.nl -. “Speed Reading for Dyslexics.” Werk & Dyslexie, https://www.moveforwardwithdyslexia.com/dyslexia/speed-reading-for-dyslexics.html.
Anna, et al. “14 Dyslexia Tips for Smarter Reading.” Speed Reading Lounge, 2 Mar. 2021, https://www.speedreadinglounge.com/dyslexia-treatment-tips.
(Pictures are from free WordPress library)